Atleti set to Take Stride Towards Glory

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Atletico Madrid are close to clinching a first La Liga title since 2014

Diego Simeone is close to guiding Atletico Madrid to the title.

There is a full programme of La Liga action on Sunday afternoon with an exciting three-horse title race heading into the final two jumps.

Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, and Barcelona are all vying for the La Liga title with Diego Simeone’s men the favourites heading into the penultimate round of games.

It promises to be an exciting climax to arguably the most closely fought La Liga race in many years.

Stubborn Atletico to March on

Ever since Simeone was appointed Atletico boss a decade ago, he has built his side on defensive solidity.

Even with the expensive acquisitions of attacking talent such as Joao Felix and the returning Yannick Carrasco in recent years, that defensive DNA has never left the former Argentina midfielder.

They boast the meanest defence in the division, letting in just 23 goals in 36 matches all season.

Simeone’s men have been top since the beginning of November and have shown very few signs of faltering since, only losing four times all season.

A disappointing round of 16 exit in the Champions League against Chelsea may prove to be a blessing in disguise, as it has given them licence to fully focus on their league campaign, as they seek their first title since 2014.

Their opponents Osasuna sit 11th in the table with little to play for and Atleti should have little problem getting past them and are 20/31 to win to nil.

Real Face Tricky Test in Bilbao

Atletico’s nearest challengers are city rivals Real, who will need snookers in order to defend their title.

Zinedine Zidane’s side appear to be in a constant state of turmoil even though results have generally been positive.

They haven’t lost in the league since the end of January, a run spanning 16 games, but three of their last six matches have been drawn and those results could be very costly.

They travel to the San Mames to take on a Bilbao side sitting ninth in the table with nothing left to play for.

Results recently have been poor with Marcelino’s men earning just two wins from their last 10 games.

It might be tricky for Real, given Bilbao do possess some wonderful talent, but they should come through comfortably and are 11/4 to win by a two-goal margin.

Celta can Extinguish Barca Hopes

Even though they still have the endlessly jaw-dropping talent of Lionel Messi to rely upon, Barcelona appear to be a club in decline.

Off-field financial issues have dogged their season and although they still retain an outside chance of title success, it appears unlikely.

A run of one win in four games hasn’t helped matters, and, although Messi has contributed 37 goals this season, there is a sense Ronald Koeman’s side are overly-reliant on the 34-year-old.

Celta will be very tough opponents – they have won each of their last four games in La Liga, and still have an outside chance of snatching the last European place from Villarreal in seventh.

The Catalans were shocked by Granada at the Nou Camp a few weeks ago and at 19/2, a win for the unheralded visitors might represent good value.

*All odds correct at time of writing

A sports journalist for over 15 years, Aidan has been part of written and audio coverage on a wide-ranging number of events. Having played and coached at amateur level, he offers in-depth insight and opinion into the world of football in particular.

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